VALENCIA: Gary Neville, the former England and Manchester United defender and latterly television pundit, has entered management as head coach of Spanish club Valencia until the end of the season.

Neville, 40, who takes charge officially on Sunday, will remain part of the England coaching set-up. Brother Phil, who joined the club as assistant manager in July, will remain on the coaching staff.

Gary Neville, who takes charge for the first time in the Champions League against Lyon next week, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity.”

A key factor in his decision was clearly the fact that Peter Lim, Valencia’s Singaporean owner, has a stake in Salford City, the non-league club co-owned by Neville.

England manager Roy Hodgson has given Neville his blessing, saying: “I’m delighted Gary has decided to take this excellent opportunity. It’s the right moment in time for him and I’m 100pc behind his decision.

“As far as I’m concerned, this will be an extra string to his bow and the experience he will gain working in the Spanish league can only be beneficial to our work together with the England team.

“Gary’s commitment to The FA’s preparations for Euro 2016 will not be in any way affected by the fact that he will be coaching abroad during the next five months.

“As someone who has spent a large part of my coaching career working abroad, I salute his decision and hope he gains as much from his time in Spain as I have done from the various countries which I have worked.

“Like the rest of the England coaching staff, Gary will be fully committed to preparing for the Euros in France and our friendly matches which begin in March against Germany and Holland.”